My Response: Defending the Assumption & Queenship of Mary

by Steve Ray on August 21, 2007

The Assumption of Mary always ruffles the feathers of anti-Catholics. I understand why. I used to be in their camp — I joined them in lockstep chanting the same slogans and mantras against "Catholic Tradition" and "man-made dogmas."

WomanSun.jpgBut now I turn my guns on my old impoverished theology and anti-Catholicism and its lame attack on the Assumption and Queenship of Mary. I just learned too much to stay a member of the Fundamentalist camp with their Fundamentalist tradition. Click here to read my response.

(Picture:"The Woman Clothed with the Sun" – one of my favorites. I took this picture of the mural in the Church of the Visitation in Ein Kerem in Israel)

On August 15th I posted a blog offering some biblical precedent for the Assumption and Queenship of Our Blessed Mother. I was not trying to prove the dogma, only to offer biblical precedent for it. There was some red-faced huffing and puffing and a few websites made hay with it. Naysayers immediately jumped to attention and posted a flurry of opposition with the same old, same old. They demanded I answer them RIGHT NOW!

What I said was not only rational and biblical, it was also easily defensible. My article is somewhat lengthy, though I did cut it back from what it was. I wanted to be somewhat thorough. I was criticized for not answering their flurry of charges and questions last week; now I'll probably be criticized for writing too much :-)  Oh well!

I've never been one to be bullied or pushed into anything, and I certainly feel no obligation to tussle with them every time they step unto the playground with their taunts and jeers. But this topic interested me immensely and I thought I would enjoy delving deeper. I also thought it would be edifying and enjoyable for Catholics to read — to make them proud of their Catholic faith.

So, I had a few days of relative calm (unusual) without deadlines and such. So I wrote a response. You can read it here in PDF format. Enjoy, and if you are a Catholic — rejoice in Our Lord Jesus and in His Catholic Church, and honor His Mother. Under the inspiriation of the Holy Spirit, as recorded in Sacred Scripture, Mary said "All generations will call me blessed!" Be glad to be in the Church that still does that very thing!

Grandpa.jpgBy the way, a quick glance at White's website seems to indicate he is obsessed with me lately. I must be famous or something! Is this my 15 minutes of fame promised by Andy Warhol? Wow, am I really that dangerous or interesting?

Geez, I'm really just a old bald-headed grandpa, for heaven's sake!

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

PhilVaz August 21, 2007 at 11:12 AM

Great stuff. I’ll print it out. Ah ha, you footnote my article from Juniper Carol, thanks! I can’t help but quote this from White:

“Space would fail us to even begin to list the Christian leaders and writers through the centuries who lived and died without once confessing or embracing this doctrine [referring to the Assumption].” (Mary, Another Redeemer [1998] by James R. White, page 54)

All right, now what are we going to do about these guys?

St. Epiphanius of Salamis (c. 377 AD)
Timothy, a priest of Jerusalem (c. 400 AD)
St. Gregory of Tours (c. 538-594 AD)
Modestus of Jerusalem (d. 634)
St. Germanus of Constantinople (c. 634-733)
St. Andrew of Crete (c. 660-740 )
St. John of Damascus (c. 676-749)
Amadeus, bishop of Lausarme
St. Anthony of Padua (1195-1231)
St. Albert the Great (1206-1280)
St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)
St. Bonaventure (1221-1274)
Blessed John Duns Scotus (1266-1308)
St. Bernardine of Siena (1380-1444)
St. Peter Canisius (1521-1597)
St. Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621)
St. Francis of Sales (1567-1622)
St. Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)

Phil P

Hector August 21, 2007 at 12:43 PM

Phil,

The “historical” evidence that Protestants often times claim is based on poor research, and sadly based on hearsay. Or Mr. White must have a different idea of a “Christian leader”, most likely a non-catholic, probably a Gnostic, Arian, Nestorian, or the rest of the heretics??? Even so, none of them even claim the doctrine of “solas” that modern Protestants hold unto. Can’t help but recall the words of Catholic Bishop Fulton Sheen.

Hector August 21, 2007 at 3:53 PM

Steve,

The Lord must have a good game plan than Mr. White could ever imagine! A non-catholic person of goodwill can detect who sounds to be more “Christian” in treating the Mother of God. :)

BTW, I want to commend you of the job well done, as always, on Catholic Answers Live yesterday! You’re a good defender of the faith. God bless you and your whole family!

Salamat!

Brent Robbins August 21, 2007 at 7:36 PM

Steve,

You are the King of Comebacks and Rebuttals. 30 page rebuttal to a blog by James White, eh? That’s impressive. I guarantee that IF he responds (which he mostly likely won’t), it will be some measly rebuttal that pretty much says, “Steve is utterly wrong on everything. Simply amazing!” and then claim victory.

God bless you!

Steve Ray August 21, 2007 at 8:56 PM

You are correct. He will say I am mean, attacking him personally, and wounding his his huge ego. He'll say I am long-winded, ignorant of true Bible theology, and a sniveling slave of Rome. After breezing over a few of my points, he will say it is beneath him to respond.

Most likely after that, he will take a few points I've made, kick them around as though he really dealt with them profoundly, then say something like, "there, this sampling  proves that the whole ball of wax is nonsense. Then there will be a lot of bluster and hot air, after which he will say he won hands down. Everyone but his groupies will say, "Hum!?!?"

Then he will challenge me to debate him in public. He loves debates because then he can watch himself over and over again on video clips and then he can put them on his site for everyone else to watch him too. He cuts out snippets of the videos that put himself in the best light and his opponent in the worst light. He never changes :-) Like I said in an earlier post, he is as predicable as a rabid dog — poke it with a stick and it always reacts the same. At least he is predictable and consistent. Let's see if I'm not pretty close to the target.

PhilVaz August 21, 2007 at 10:17 PM

Steve: “Then he will challenge me to debate him in public. He loves debates because then he can watch himself over and over again on video clips and then he can put them on his site for everyone else to watch too.”

YouTube changed everything. :) Looking for that “Late Night Coffee with anti-Catholics” DVD : Steve Ray, Dave Armstrong, Mark Bonocore, have a late or very early morning breakfast with James White, William Webster, Eric Svendsen, and debate their differences without throwing blueberry syrup and donuts at each other. I know won’t happen but one can dream.

Phil P

Apolonio August 22, 2007 at 2:05 AM

Steve,

Yup, it’s likely he will do that. Some of the arguments you did present I disagree with, but as a whole it was decent. I can see him saying, “Oh no, the 33,000 denominations” thing again and then speak of how Rome does not give unity either or how there is no infallible list of infallible doctrines, etc. Same old.

With regards to public debates, that’s all for show. Many scholars do that rarely. Balthasar and Barth debated but they never said, “Hey, let’s have an opening statement, rebuttal, etc.” You go ask a reputable philosopher and they will tell you that a moderated public debate isn’t the best type of argumentation. I can think of three that are much better: written debate (books), peer-reviewed articles, and a seminar. Maybe if he got a real doctorate and see how the actual process is like, he’ll know better.

Kristyn Hall August 22, 2007 at 8:36 AM

Just a thought…
G.K. Chesterton said that the moment we begin to be fair to Catholicism we begin to be fond of it. I can attest personally that this is true. Mr. White is in hyper unfair mode, maybe because of his sister’s conversion or something. It was guys like you and Scott Hahn that made Mrs. Bonds sit up and take notice that maybe the Catholic Church isn’t peopled by idol worshippers after all. In my most anti-Catholic days (and I was nothin’ compared to Mr. White) I was acting in self-defense. I knew I was drawn to the Catholic Church and it scared me to death. Let’s be patient with James White and his kind. Yes, he’s a mean one, but remember that even the Grinch’s heart changed at the end of the story. :) God bless.

Hector August 22, 2007 at 1:05 PM

Hey Steve,

I thought of posting here the link to the pictures of my town in Tanauan, Leyte, Philippines where we celebrate the Feast of the Assumption. We call this the “Pasaka Festival”, basically to give thanks to God, thru Our Lady, of the many blessings He gave to our town. Also, Mama Mary is the Patron Saint of our town. Below is the link to the pictures of the Festival.

http://tanauanleyte.com/forum/index.php?topic=14.0

gpc August 22, 2007 at 3:39 PM

Hello, as of right now, James White hasn’t really addressed any of the arguments in your article, or at least not to a great extant and without quickly going off into a personal attack on Steve. In his webcast and blog entry he has blasted Steve Ray personally on statements about fundamentalism and Ray’s Baptist faith before he converted to the Catholic faith, etc. I hope White actually addresses the important points.

Steve Ray August 22, 2007 at 3:52 PM

James White responds as predicted . . .

. . . . . . Steve Ray wears a hat, Steve Ray is not nice, Steve Ray was never really a Baptist, Steve Ray is Dave Hunt's twin (picture provided), Steve Ray is nasty . . .

I predicted almost this exact scenario above. White's obsession with me continues. Geez! My Andy Warhol 15 minutes of Fame  :D  I am in good company since he is obsessed with Jimmy Akin right now too.

My next prediction, he will pick one or two items out of my Defense of the Assumption, dance around them with a lot of bluster, and then declare himself the winner. If it is as poor as I expect, I will let him have the last word since the half-intelligent person will see right through him.

Ann Margaret Lewis August 22, 2007 at 4:32 PM

Right on target, Steve. He’s attacking you, not your arguments. I wonder if he’ll read your entire document and address it in total. But I doubt it. He’ll take single lines out of context and twist them to his own designs and bluster all over about he won the debate.

I know many people who became Catholic because of him. I guess we should encourage him to keep going, as he’s helping rather than hurting.
–Ann

PhilVaz August 22, 2007 at 8:43 PM

Uh, do I need to point out the obvious? Dave Hunt is about 80-ish, Steve Ray is still a young grandpa at 50-ish. Separated at birth? Humorous, but not as funny, clever, and educational as the Footprints of God video series. :-)

To the main point of sola scriptura not being in the Bible, James White has admitted this since 1997:

“…the doctrine [of sola scriptura] speaks of a rule of faith that exists. What do I mean by this? …You will never find anyone saying, ‘During times of enscripturation — that is, when new revelation was being given — sola scriptura was operational.’ Protestants do not assert that sola scriptura is a valid concept during times of revelation. How could it be, since the rule of faith to which it points was at that very time coming into being? One must have an existing rule of faith to say it is ‘sufficient.’ It is a canard to point to times of revelation and say, ‘See, sola scriptura doesn’t work there!’ Of course it doesn’t. Who said it did?” (James White’s response on the Bereans and sola scriptura article to none other than Steve Ray)

White admits sola scriptura was not “operational,” was not a “valid concept” and “of course” sola scriptura “doesn’t work” when Scripture is being written: “during times of revelation,” i.e. when the apostles were alive. So it was not true in the Old Testament, it was not true in the New Testament. The last book of the Bible (probably Revelation) does not refer to sola scriptura either.

Case Closed. Also, in a debate with Gerry Matatics that same year:

M: Did the apostles practice sola scriptura? Yes or No?
W: NO.
M: Thank you.

Phil P

PhilVaz August 22, 2007 at 9:07 PM

BTW, no need to change the 33000 denominations number either. It is accurate.

http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/a120.htm

White blog: “This source lists 242 ‘Roman Catholic’ denominations for 2000, predicting 245 for 2025.”

Yes, one for each country. In other words, the Roman Catholic Church in the United States is a different RCC in Canada, is a different RCC in Mexico, is a different RCC in England, etc. No one said that source is perfect. But the 33000 number stands. David Barrett, et al (2001), does indeed refer to “over 33,000 denominations in 238 countries.” (Table 1-5, vol 1, page 16).

Denominations / Paradenominations:

1970: 26,350
1995: 33,820

Subtract the “242 Roman Catholic denominations” and you still have over 33000 total denominations, including all Protestants and the Orthodox. And sorry about the Mormons and JWs and other pseudo-Christian groups, but basically if they ain’t Catholic or Orthodox, they are Protestant. White is stuck with them.

As for whether sola scriptura can lead to a rejection of the Trinity and other essential doctrines, here’s an article from Hatch’s The Democratization of American Christianity (1989) proving that:

http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/num20.htm

Phil P

gpc August 22, 2007 at 11:15 PM

White’s really clung to that 33,000 denomination statement, as if that has anything to do with the Assumption of Mary. Did Steve Ray write the article , My ‘Response to Criticism: The truth on proestant denominations’??

Apolonio August 23, 2007 at 4:38 AM

I predicted that he was going to use the 33,000 denominations thing. > I personally don't think that argument is good either but come on, think of something new to say. I'm guessing that he will invite Steve to the Dividing Line next.

Locke August 23, 2007 at 11:54 AM

Didn’t the founder of the Jehovah Witnesses, Taze Russell, teach solo scriptura before he created his movement? He was a respected member of the Presbyterian church. Therefore I don’t think it is a stretch to say that the Jehovah Witness movement was created partly because of Taze Russell’s private interpretation of scripture. just my opinion

Larry August 23, 2007 at 11:59 AM

Whether there are a handful of protestant denominations or 33,000 denominations is irrelevant. One protestant denomination is one too many according to the words of Jesus that they “may all be one”! There is one Catholic Church under the authority of the Pope (differences on disciplines and not doctrines). Protestants divide on discipline and doctrinal issues such as OSAS, nature of baptism, etc. And I always thought the “main things were the plain things and the plain things were the main things” :) Some things not so plain, eh??

One time I had a discussion with my neighbors about their beliefs. They said they belonged to the Church of Christ Jesus. He said they left the Church of Christ to correct the errors of the Church of Christ beliefs. I did not get into what those errors were but there you have a further splintering of that denomination.

Thank you Jesus for the Catholic Church!

PhilVaz August 23, 2007 at 5:45 PM

Locke: “Didn’t the founder of the Jehovah Witnesses, Taze Russell, teach solo scriptura before he created his movement?”

Yep that’s another example. Originally they were called “Bible Students.” The original followers of Russell split off and still called themselves that, while the rest joined Rutherford and became “JWs.” That’s Jehovah’s Witnesses, not James White followers. :0 I remember meeting one of these “Dawn Bible Students” (Arian) people in the early 1990s, and she was adament about denying the Trinity from the Bible. She showed me the Greek text to prove it too.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dawn_Bible_Students_Association

BTW, it’s “sola scriptura” since solo scriptura is just bad Latin, and a term that Doug Wilson and Keith Mathison (The Shape of Sola Scriptura) made up to keep some evangelicals in line about what is “true Protestantism.”

PhilVaz August 23, 2007 at 5:56 PM

I agree the 33000 number is not that important. One Church is enough and all Jesus called for (John 17; Eph 4:5; Matt 16:18).

But it is also true that it is an accurate number, taken from a Protestant source, and if you subtract out Barrett’s claim that the RCC in the United States is somehow a different denom from the RCC in Canada, which is how you get the “242 Roman Catholic denoms” — you still end up with 33000 total denominations, 99% Protestant, with a few Orthodox. So all that stuff from White about repenting about this “lie” is just a lot of nonsense. And the true number is only gonna get worse.

http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/a120.htm

Phil P

Larry August 24, 2007 at 2:48 PM

“I agree the 33000 number is not that important. One Church is enough and all Jesus called for (John 17; Eph 4:5; Matt 16:18).”

Philvaz, I agree with your assessment of the number of denominations and I don’t believe I will be repenting of the “lie” on the number of denominations anytime soon. BTW, I think your website is great!

Here are some denominations on Ferguson Rd. in Dallas, TX all within a few miles of each other:

Bethel Baptist Church Of Dallas, Ferguson Rd
JW Kingdom Hall – Ferguson Rd. (maybe not a denomination but still evidence of further splintering from the Church)
Casa View United Methodist Church, 9998 Ferguson Rd., Dallas, Texas
White Rock Church of Christ, 9220 Ferguson Road, Dallas
St. Mark Presbyterian Church, 9999 Ferguson Road, Dallas, TX 75228
Emmanuel New Life Fellowship, 7903 Ferguson Road, Dallas, TX 75228
Faith Seventh Day Adventist Church in , Centerville (called Ferguson Rd. in Dallas), Garland, TX
Church Of Resurrection,11540 Ferguson Rd Dallas, TX US 75228
Ridge Pointe Fellowship (Bible Church)-11440 Ferguson Rd, Dallas, TX
Ethiopian Evangelical Baptist Church Pastor: Rev Bedilu Tanku Yirgia, 9120 Ferguson Rd Dallas TX
Ferguson Road Baptist Church, Ferguson Rd.
Faith Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Ferguson
I. P. C. TABERNACLE DALLAS INC. (Pentecostal Church)- 9121 Ferguson Road

Most are different denominations. I only chose the denominations on Ferguson Rd. I may be missing a few. Also, there is a Masonic Lodge on Ferguson Rd.

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